Discussion Board Forums General Discussion Successful vs Unsuccessful Biopsies

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    First biopsy was successful. ICC
    PET has mets to spine and skull.

    I appreciate these replies and Im thankful more biopsies werent needed.


    My wife had 5 failed biopsy’s. Finally had to do an open surgery were they actually cut into the liver and get a sample. Even then the sample was insufficient to do more than very limited genetic testing.


    My mum’s first biopsy was negative but the next hospital we went to for a follow up biopsy suggested that the first biopsy was botched. Her second one confirmed the cholangiocarcinoma.


    Deb….great explanation. I have learned that ERCP brushings differ from tumor tissue biopsies in that it gently scrapes cells from the tumorous tissue and most often comes back as inconclusive or negative. Reason: it removes a very small amount of cells only, which often doesn’t yield enough for pathology or the brushings miss the tumor tissue in it’s entirety.
    When cytology shows cancer, often a biopsy is also done to confirm the results.

    There are two types of biopsies:

    Fine needle aspiration (FNA) uses a very thin, hollow needle attached to a syringe to take out a small amount of fluid and very small pieces of tissue from the tumor. The doctor can aim the needle while feeling the tumor, if it’s near the surface of the body. If the tumor is deeper inside the body and can’t be felt, the needle can be guided while being watched on an imaging test such as an ultrasound or CT scan.
    The main advantages of FNA are that the skin doesn’t have to be cut, and in some cases it’s possible to make a diagnosis the same day. The disadvantage is that sometimes this needle can’t remove enough tissue for a definite diagnosis. Although FNA is a type of biopsy, it’s also classified as a cytology test.

    Core biopsy
    Needles used in a core biopsy are slightly larger than those used in FNA. They remove a small cylinder of tissue (about 1/16 inch in diameter and 1/2 inch long). The core needle biopsy is done with local anesthesia (drugs are used to make the area numb) in the doctor’s office or clinic. Like FNA, a core biopsy can sample tumors that the doctor can feel as well as smaller ones that must be seen using imaging tests.



    Dear HelpForMom2016,

    It is rare for biopsies to produce positive results unless taken directly from the tumor during surgery. In my husband’s case, a number of ERCP “brushing so” aka biopsies came back negative. A “spyglass” type ERCP cbiopsy came back inclusive. I think the reason it’s so difficult to obtain a positive sample is at least partly because the cc usually grows in the epithelial cells and first line biopsy procedures mostly brush the surface cells and do ‘t easily reach the epithelial cells. I’m sure someone with more medical knowledge can give a more precise reason.

    I hope your mom’s biopsy results identify something that can be effectively targeted.



    Mom had a biopsy yesterday. Well, 2 – One from the good part of the liver and one from the mass under ultrasound guided imaging.

    4.2cm x3.5cm mass on posterior right lobe.

    Its been roughly 60 days since the mass was found via CT/MRI. (Imaging inconsistencies over hepatocellular vs. cholangio was the reason for the biopsy- among other things, transplant related)

    Im wondering how many people get a conclusive biopsy the first go around? …and why not?

    And what should we expect or push for should it be inconclusive or show no malignancy?
    (PET Scan scheduled for tomorrow morning- no signs of mets)

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